Port Hudson - Long est True Si'W>


Walk along the six miles of trails at Port Hudson State Historic Site and you'll be back in the turbulent days of the War Between the States.

Why Port Hudson?
Control of the Mississippi River was important to both sides during the American Civil War. The North wanted to control the river and split the Confederacy in two. The South wanted to maintain control and ensure the flow of supplies back and forth across the river.

When New Orleans fell to Federal troops in late April 1862, Confederate control of the Mississippi was in jeopardy. The Confederate army had already fortified the river bluffs at Vicksburg, Mississippi, but it needed another series of river batteries below the mouth of the Red

The original breastworks in the Fort Desperate area are in much the same condition today as they were 100 y ears ago. A wooden boardwalk provides the visitor a complete view of the area where the fiercest fighting took place.

River. The Red River was the primary route for the shipment of supplies An interpretive building is uisible in from Texas to the heartland of the Confederacy.
the background.

The bluffs near the small town of Port Hudson represented a perfect site for the river batteries. These bluffs were the first high ground upstream from Baton Rouge and overlooked a severe bend in the river. This bend presented an additional obstacle for Union warships. FollOWing their defeat at the Battle of Baton Rouge on August 5, 1862} Confederate soldiers marched to Port Hudson and occupied the area on August IS} 1862. They constructed a series of river batteries along the bluffs and, in the months that followed, erected a 4 112-mile line of earthworks to protect the land approach to the river batteries.

Living History Programs

Port Hudson State Historic Site hosts several

Nearby Attractions: Audubon State Historic Site-(South of St.

State Hist,
ric Site

liVing history events. Visitors can watch authentically costumed interpreters demonstrate Civil War weapons and equipment. For more information on programs, contact the Port Hudson State Historic Site.



48-Day Siege

The siege of Port Hudson began

Francisville on LA 965)- The nearly 200-year-old Oakley House is where John James Audubon drew inspiration and sketched many of the birds found in his famous Birds of America. The visitor may tour the house-turned-museum, formal gardens, an outside kitchen building and barns, walk the trails and enjoy a picnic lunch at the large paVilion nearby.
Centenary State Historic Site-fEast College and



on May 23 , 1863. Roughly 30,000 of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks,

Union troops, under the command were pitted against 6,800 Confederates, under the command of Major General Franklin Gardner.

Pine Street in Jackson)-This is the former site of Centenary College. Visitors may tour the old West Wing dormitory or a professor's cottage, and learn about the history of education in Louisiana. A Confederate cemetery is located on the grounds.
Locust Grove State Historic Site-{4] 12 miles

On the morning of May 27, and
again on June 14, the U ni on army launched ferocious assa ults against the 4 liz-mile-long strin g of earthworks protecting Port H udson. These actions constituted some of the bloodiest and most severe fj ghting in th e entire Civil War. As the siege continued, the
1NTERPRETl VE CENTER- The interpretive center includes a museum
with displays of original Ci llil War artifacts and an audio-visual program that introduces lIisitors to th e siege of Port H udson and to the State Historic Site.


northeast of St. Francisville on LA 10)-Visit the gravesites of Sarah Knox Taylor, wife of Jefferson Davis, and General Eleazor Ripley, distinguished soldier in the War of 1812.
Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area­

Native Guards

(14 miles northwest of St. Francisville on LA 66)­ Day-hiking, wildlife viewing, birding, and hunting (in season) are featured across 5,231 acres of rugged hills, bluffs and ravines.
Historic Town of St. Francisville-{North of Baton

Pri or to the May 27 attack, a bold experiment was decided upon. Two African-American regiments were hosen to participate in the fight. The First and Third Louisiana Native Guards proved their worth by pressing an attack against a well-fortified Confederate position. This action was applauded in northern papers and led to the acceptance of African-American troops into the "var effort. After the siege, the garrison at Port Hudson became a recruiting center for African-American troops. The ga rri son remained there until the summer of 1866.
National Historic Landmark

Confederates nearly exhausted


~ ~

their ammunition and were reduced to eating mules, horses and rats.

Rouge on US 61)-The Historic District includes 140 structures encompassing churches, antebellum homes, townhouses, cemeteries, and dozens of antique and gift shops.
Historic Town of Jackson-{North of St. Francisville

When word reached Gardn er th at Vicksburg had surrendered, he realized that his situation was hop eless and nothing could be gained by continuing Surrender terms were negoti ated, and thousands of casualties, the the defense of Port H udson. and on July 9, 1863, after 48 days Union army entered Port Hudson. The siege became the longest in American military history.

on LA 10)-The Historic District covers two-thirds of the town and features more than 120 structures including banks, shops, homes, churches and warehouses.
Historic Town of Clinton-(North of Baton Rouge via

LA 67)-The town is known for its historic architecture, including the East Feliciana Parish Courthouse, Lawyers Row, and charming Victorian and antebellum homes.
LA Scenic Bayou Byway-The Byway in this area takes you through some of the historic "Florida" parishes known for the British influence in their architecture and cultural traditions. Follow US 61 and historic LA 10 (once known as the Choctaw Trail) to quaint his­ toric towns, charming bed and breakfasts, country dri­ ves, profuse native wildflowers in season, excellent birding, cycling and interesting antique shops.

]n 1974, the Port Hudson battlefield was designated a N ational Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department f th e Interior. It joined a select group of properties which have been recognized for their importance in American history.

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